With many of the UK’s top IRC boats signed up to compete over three days at the popular RORC Easter Challenge, the regatta is turning into a practice session for the highly competitive IRC Nationals taking place later this summer:
“I am impressed with the quality of the early entries to our training weekend at Easter which starts on Good Friday, 29th March,” comments RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott.
“These are the top race boats in the UK and include teams from the Solent, the East Coast and West Country, as well as teams from as far away as France, Ireland and even South Africa. This is a great endorsement for the event which is designed as a training weekend for those keen to improve their overall performance.”
In a unique initiative and as the first Solent-based event in the Club’s racing calendar, RORC relax the rules on outside assistance and invite coaching guru, Jim Saltonstall and a team of expert coaches – including past Olympian Barry Dunning – to actively participate and provide helpful tips to improve sail trim and boat handling whilst the boats are racing. The coaching team has also been boosted this year by the addition of sailmakers who will provide sail trim and rig set up tips.
“It’s the only event of its kind in the UK and I’ve not seen it done anywhere else in the world,” comments RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen who is also one of Saltonstall’s coaching team.
“Even the top teams with pro sailors on board are keen to get the view we have from the outside. It can be extremely effective, especially for the less experienced crew who often see an immediate improvement during the race,” continues Warden Owen.
After racing, Saltonstall de-briefs crews using video evidence to back up his thoughts. These sessions held after racing in the Event Centre at Cowes Yacht Haven are always packed out.
But for the top boats, its also a serious event and with the likes of RORC Vice Commodore, Anthony O’Leary bringing his Antix team from Cork and Niklas Zennström taking a break from the TP52 Super Series to race Rán, his Farr 45, the racing is all about winning:
“Whilst it’s the first event of the season for us and we look forward to the input provided by the likes of Jim (Saltonstall) and Eddie (Warden Owen), we will be doing our best to win the event. There’s some serious competition from the Ker 40s and from the South African Tokoloshe whose boat is very similar to ours. It’s a brilliant format, great value and a well run event with nine races over the weekend,” says O’Leary.
Last year the RORC introduced a second race course for the smaller boats and One Design classes such as J/80s and RORC have the intention to do the same if there is sufficient demand.
Racing for all classes starts on Good Friday 29th March and runs through to Sunday 31st March. Entries close for the RORC Easter Challenge on 14th March; interested owners can find the Notice of Race and enter online on the RORC website.